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Mon, 06/03/2023 - 6:42pm

Photo Courtesy of Margarita Orange

Julian Lee


What would you say, if fame could be reached by a simple upload to YouTube? For Julian Lee, a junior at Mason, it all started by uploading the short film, “Not Quite Quarantine.”

As a Communication major with a concentration in Media Production and Criticism, Lee is a media producer both in and out of the classroom, especially through his show, The Kickback, on WGMU radio and his YouTube channel, Purple Hoodie Productions. But before Mason, he was a high school student in the class of 2020.

“I was in the class of 2020 back in high school, which means I did not have a graduation, I did not have a prom and I did not get a goodbye from my friends. So to cope with it. I did the only thing I knew how to do. I made a video about it” said Lee. 

From using his own humor, gathering inspiration from the events happening around him, and having some time on his hands, Lee got to work.“The video took a year and a half to film and that’s the nice way of putting it.  It started my freshman year [of college] and then released during my sophomore year. The writing took a few months and then getting the lyrics down took time because I rap in the video,”  said Lee.

Lee’s original lyrics touched on some memorable pop culture references such as the Netflix series Tiger King, and TikTok trends, Savage and Castaway, but also intertwined the feelings of being isolated at home that people could relate to when looking back at the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As time went on, my ideas kept going–the pandemic shifted as well. So I had to change it from being stuck in quarantine to a not quite quarantine where the video displays me struggling with the world moving on while I don’t want to. Cause on the one hand there’s a global pandemic going on and I don’t want to leave the house and not be safe. But on the other hand, the social side of it, everyone is going to parties with masks on and I am missing out,” said Lee. 

Although experiencing both the fear of missing out and from the threat of COVID-19, Lee explained that after his project was completed, it was more than just a video. “It was supposed to be like a love letter to the end of my high school years and moving on to college” said Lee.

From the beginning of his film flashbacking to his high school years to the ending showing him leaving the house, in a similar way, it shows acceptance of the past, letting go and fast forwarding to the future. By doing this, he shows his own personal acceptance to the changes happening in his life.

“It’s okay to cope in different ways, you don’t have to move on [like] the rest of the world, you just do it in whatever way helps you,” said Lee. Luckily for Lee, this coping method helped him kick off his start to fame.

By uploading “Not Quite Quarantine,” Lee has had multiple fan accounts created on Instagram that have been dedicated to the love of his film, and has won several awards, including the esteemed 2021-2022 Outstanding Achievement in Student Production award from The National Academy of Television Arts and Science.

While Lee is truly proud of himself and is grateful for the experiences and opportunities that have come from creating the film, he carries on through his life remaining humbled and appreciative of those who have supported him throughout his life.

“It feels great! Seeing something I’ve worked so hard on engraved really makes my accomplishment feel real. It still doesn’t feel real, but I know one thing, I’m proud of myself and the people who helped me get here” said Lee.


Mon, 06/03/2023 - 6:36pm

Photo Courtesy of Molly Sullivan

Planned Parenthood founds new chapter at Mason.


A new resident student organization was created to promote diversity at Mason in Fall 2022 called Generation Action or “GenAct” for short. Generation Action At Mason is a part of Planned Parenthood which has 350 organizations across college campuses.

According to their statement, “Planned Parenthood Generation Action is a network of young activists across the country who organize events on their campuses and in their communities to: Mobilize advocates for reproductive freedom, Raise public awareness about reproductive health and rights, Educate young people about sexual health, Create lasting change in their communities” Students can learn more about the organization on Planned Parenthood’s Generation Action page. 

At Mason, sophomore Molly Sullivan is the co-president of Generation Action and emphasizes that the branch aims to match the values of Planned Parenthood’s description. “Generation Action is the University Chapter of Planned Parenthood so we relate directly to their values. We believe in bodily autonomy for all and accessible abortion for all genders, incomes, ages, etc.” said Sullivan. 

Leading up to the 2022 midterms and following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, Generation Action led their members to join the 2022 Nationwide Women’s Wave March for reproductive rights on Oct. 8 where they additionally held protest training and sign-making events prior to the march. According to their Instagram post, members can be seen holding up signs supporting the right to abortion saying “My Body, My Choice, My Rights, My Voice”, “The Wave Of Choice Is Coming”, and “Your Laws Will Drown The Dreams Of Millions”.

Most recently, Generation Act hosted a session where students were invited to openly speak about sexual health. Sullivan speaks on Generation Action’s goals to promote inclusive conversations. “We want to provide the Mason community with a safe space to feel themselves and ask hard questions and be un-judged. We talk about the importance of contraceptive use and the different aspects of reproductive health that society has deemed too ‘taboo’ to speak about. We teach consent and how to establish and maintain boundaries, as we believe it is incredibly vital in having a safe and secure relationship or life.” said Sullivan.

Sullivan reinforces the organization’s duty to support reproductive rights and inclusivity for all students on campus. “We are one of the most inclusive RSOs on Mason’s campus as reproductive health is not gendered. Abortion is not gendered. It is healthcare, and we will treat it as such. We also have meetings about inclusivity when regarding sexuality and expression of self, as these individuals are marginalized in our society, so we give them the attention and love they deserve.” said Sullivan.

Students who are interested in joining Generation Action at Mason can get connected through their Instagram and join GroupMe with over 100 members in the biography of the account.


Mon, 06/03/2023 - 6:30pm

Fourth Estate/Allison Alberty

Trigger Warning: This story contains discussion on mass shootings and gun violence.


In the face of government gridlock and indifference toward gun violence, Generation Z (Gen Z) has taken on the role of the change-makers. While many praise young people for their commitment to activism, relying on Gen Z to solve today’s problems has one major flaw: America doesn’t have time to wait. 

On Feb. 13, 2023, on the 5th anniversary of the Parkland shooting in Florida, a gunman opened fire at Michigan State University (MSU) in East Lansing, Michigan, killing three and critically injuring five students. 

So far this year as of Feb. 28, 2023, there have been over 1.5 times as many mass shootings in the U.S. as days so far in 2023, with over 89 mass shootings occurring in only 59 days. These shootings have left more than 130 people dead and 150 injured. 

Natalie, a sophomore at MSU, was in her on-campus dorm the night of the shootings. 

She says, “Once I realized the severity of the situation I turned my lights off, pushed our full-sized fridge in front of the door and hid behind our dresser.” Natalie recalls hearing students running from the Student Union, one of the shooting locations, outside her window. 

Another student at MSU, who wishes to stay anonymous, says that night she had “received two emails that confirmed there was an active shooter,” with instructions to “run, hide, fight.”

Natalie, along with most other college-aged students today, is considered a member of Gen Z. Gen Z includes anyone born between 1997 and 2012 (ages 11-26), making last year the first election cycle where any Gen Z was old enough to run for Congress (25 years old).  

Emilio Cuéllar, a senior at MSU, says he is frustrated when adults pose the idea of Gen Z fixing the problems of previous generations as a positive phenomenon. He says “we still unfortunately need their help if we want to fix this now.”

It is encouraging that young people in America are generally civically engaged and socially conscious, but Gen Z should not have to bear the burden of taking on this issue alone. Most of Gen Z is not old enough to run for office or even vote, and therefore have a big disadvantage when it comes to influencing policy.

Young people are also adversely affected by gun violence in America. Gun violence is the #1 cause of death for people 18-25, according to Students Demand Action. 

Unlike any generation before them, Gen Z students have had the unique experience of growing up undergoing active shooter drills in school, practicing the same steps Natalie and many other students had to take on that night at MSU.

Cuéllar says one of his professors had the class make an “action plan” in case of an active shooter situation just two weeks before the events at MSU.

While Gen Z is taking cover in school, complacent adults in government continue to look the other way to ensure, instead, the safety of their donations from gun lobbies. 

Bailey White, a senior at MSU, says the problem of safety in schools is bigger than what schools can do on an individual basis. White mentions expanding access to mental health care and instituting comprehensive background checks for gun owners as actions she sees as necessary to address these issues.

White asks, “While I know that it’s not necessarily the object that’s in the wrong, it’s the person behind the object, why is it so easy for someone with a criminal record to legally obtain a weapon?”

In the three days following the shootings at MSU, there were 10 other mass shootings in the U.S. and 50 people were killed.

The event at MSU is not the first mass shooting that some of these students have lived through. One photo is going viral of an MSU student outside after the shootings wearing a sweatshirt with “Oxford Strong” printed across the chest. The sweatshirt refers to the 2021 shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan where four students were killed and 7 others were injured.

Another current MSU student shared her experience on TikTok about being a student at Sandy Hook elementary school in 2012 when a gunman killed 20 children and six teachers. 

We don’t have time to wait for the gun lobby’s financial hold on Congress to fade. We don’t have time to wait for 11-year-olds to run for Congress in 14 years. We don’t have time to risk raising children who fear enduring multiple mass shootings in their lifetimes. 

We don’t have time to lose more family, friends, and loved ones lives like Arielle, Alexandria and Brian at MSU.

We need Congress to step up now, pass gun reform and increased access to mental health resources and care. And we need older individuals to step up and vote for candidates that are committed to fighting for these issues.

Gen Z will likely continue to lead the battle for an end to gun violence. However, just because they are going to, does not mean they should have to.


Mon, 06/03/2023 - 6:12pm

Photo Courtesy of Sophia Nguyen

Solar panels to be featured outside of President’s Park to aid sustainability measures.


A new Solar Greenhouse Project is coming to Mason starting in Fall 2023 to help Mason reach its Zero Waste sustainability goal, and the idea was led by one of the universities’ own students senior Crystal Bowers.

The Solar Greenhouse is a $40,000 student-led project that will install solar panels located outside of Ike’s Dining Hall and next to President’s Park Hydroponic Greenhouse. It will also feature opportunities for agriculture which when combined with solar energy may aid greenhouse gas emissions and lower the long-term electricity costs of the greenhouse itself. The Solar Greenhouse will be funded $20,000 by the Patriot Green Fund and given an additional $20,000 from their partner Mason Facilities who decided to match the project. 

Bowers has always cared about sustainability measures at Mason as in the past she gained experience in the field as a prior Advanced Materials for Energy and Environmental Sustainability research assistant, nuclear engineering intern, wind reliability intern and an upcoming nuclear fuels intern. Bowers decided that there were more steps Mason could take towards a green planet after taking inspiration from an empty plot of land on campus. “As I walked around George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus, I noticed a lack of solar panels. I started this project [in Fall 2021] to reduce the Mason community’s carbon footprint and to enable students to gain hands-on experience,” said Bowers.

“I am very passionate about clean energy and was eager to create a solution that would positively impact the Mason community. Despite the President’s Park Hydroponic Greenhouse’s small blueprint, it is a highly energy-intensive building that emits a considerable amount of greenhouse gases. This project is in accordance with Mason’s development of a new Climate Action Plan and will aid in George Mason University’s pursuit of achieving carbon neutrality.”

Bowers notes that she could not have completed her endeavors without the assistance of her team, Mason Facilities, the Office of Sustainability and the Patriot Green Fund who approved the project and provided the initial funding.

“I am grateful to everyone who has supported this project and for the advising from Dr. Colin Reagle, Ms. Donielle Nolan, and our Patriot Green Fund Liaison Ms. Sarah D’Alexander,” said Bowers. 

In addition to Mason administration, a multidisciplinary team of students ranging from majors in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, government and international politics, computer science, cybersecurity engineering and environmental science were crucial to the success of the project.

The student team consists of Crystal Bowers as Student Project Manager, Jacob Schwartz, Erin MacMonigle, Josh Merriman, ​Allan Nguyen, Rida Hasan, Ronald Santos Garcia, Lizzie Weems, Jose Bejarano, Gustavo Sagastume, Sophia Nguyen and Abigail Kokkinakis.

Bowers wants to inspire other students to follow in her footsteps and take action where they see fit to create change in the world and themselves. “Pursue personal projects, join student organizations, seek out internships, conduct research, and take advantage of the opportunities available at the university. George Mason University’s Patriot Green Fund and the Greenhouse and Gardens Academic Internship Program are amazing ways to get involved!” 

The project itself should leave a unique impact on Mason and help them fulfill their future goals, says Bowers.

“Students walking to their dorms or Ike’s Dining Hall will have a clear view of the solar panels outside of the greenhouse as a daily reminder of the university’s commitment to sustainability. This will greatly improve the awareness of sustainability issues for the entire Mason community and promote environmental stewardship. This ground-mounted solar installation will be Mason’s first at the Fairfax Campus.”

Bowers and their team will be looking for volunteers as the project develops. Students who want to get connected can follow the organization’s Instagram handle @solargreenhousegmu to follow their updates and get notified of volunteering opportunities.


Sat, 04/03/2023 - 4:58pm

Fourth Estate/Mitchell Richtmyre


Mason closed out their final home game of the season against Fordham finishing with a final score of 64-58 after an impressive performance in overtime. Then, on Saturday, they closed out the season against Richmond 62-60 to finish 19-12. They can finish fifth, sixth or seventh in the Atlantic 10 depending on the rest of Saturday’s results. 

“A hard-fought Atlantic 10 game,” said Coach English. “Our guys did a great job in just finding a way to win…no matter what the conditions are that’s just how we like it and I think tonight was a really good indication of that mindset and guys found a way to win.”

With Victor Bailey Jr. still out, Ronald Polite III stepped up and tallied 12 points playing a total of 43:52 minutes. Having Davonte Gaines back in the game has been beneficial for the players despite only playing for 13:31 minutes. Nonetheless, his efforts were needed during overtime.

“My teammates trust me so that just gives me a lot of confidence,” said Polite III. “It was tough defense, just being tough with the ball and making a play.”

“Locking in day by day,” said Polite III. “Trying to get better…coming together as a team.”

The Patriots had an outstanding defensive strategy during the second period which resulted in getting stops against Fordham guard, Antrell Charlton.

Josh Oduro reflected on how he felt about playing what’s rumored to be his final game at EagleBank Arena. Despite not being able to play during overtime, watching his teammates take charge in those final moments made him feel proud to be a Patriot.

“Watching Ronald take over, watching Malik Henry step up to the plate, watching Saquan making some stops, it was an amazing experience,” said Oduro. “I’m glad that they sent me off on a good note on a senior night.”

Senior Night was very heated for the Patriots and Rams. Justyn Fernandez had a hard foul on Fordham forward, Khalid Moore after DeVon Cooper turned the ball over resulting in what could’ve been a fight on the baseline.

“Nothing happened,” said Coach English. “Basketball players aren’t going to fight.”

The Patriots head to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. and will open up their Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament campaign on Wednesday, March 8.


Fri, 03/03/2023 - 4:51pm
GAMEmason 2023 set to be the biggest event yet.


GAMEmason 2023, a convention dedicated to gaming and esports, will be held on March 3&4. The convention will include a two-day tournament of Rocket League, League of Legends, Overwatch 2, Valorant, and Super Smash Brothers games, free arcade, tabletop, and console gaming, an artist alley, and speakers covering game design, voice acting, composing and more. 

GAMEmason was created in 2019 to support a growing population of gamers at Mason, explained Lauren Long, Executive Director of Student Involvement. 

“I felt like we had a lot of students that were gaming. We had a popular esports club at the time and we had a lot of tabletop gaming clubs. I just felt like we never see these students at anything else, and it’s a population of students we need to do something for,” said Long. 

With hundreds of students participating, Mason has dove all in on supporting gamers. Long explained that she’s collaborated with different groups and departments on campus to create an all women’s team and an Intro to esports class. In addition, she shared that they’re working on creating an esports minor in the game design program. 

“It’s exploded,” said Long on the growth of esports at Mason. “Ever since we brought it in as a departmental group GMU esports has grown. We have 5 different varsity level games, and the team competes at different regional and national competitions.”

Long added that as the convention and the esports program grow, she hopes to build a larger gaming arena. Currently, Mason esports has a 400 square foot space. 

The event was canceled due to COVID-19 in 2020, held virtually in 2021 and held at the Center for the Arts last year in 2022. The event is free to students and $30 for community members looking to purchase a two-day pass. 

GAMEmason includes keynote speakers Greg Street, Head of Creative Development for Riot Games, Carolina Ravassa, Voice of Sombra in Overwatch and Raze in Valorant, and concerts with DJ James Landino; All Hell Breaks Loops, and Bit Brigade. 

The expansion of the GAMEmason wouldn’t be possible without the event’s sponsors, said Long. 

“This year we’re really proud to be sponsored by Lenovo and Intel.” shared Long. “Lenovo and Intel are sponsoring our huge expansion of our esports collegiate tournament. We have university varsity teams from across Virginia coming to compete.”

“We are sponsoring the rental fleet of 40 of our Legion Towers, which are our esports machines, so we can help enable their tournament,” said Lee Hyde with Lenovo. 

“We pride ourselves on being a solutions provider for esports and education. We try to work with schools on what their goals are, but our goal is to help esports reach a broader audience and to empower students to find themselves within the esports community.”


Tue, 28/02/2023 - 12:54pm

DeRon Rockingham / Creative Services / George Mason

Catch a glimpse of McCurdy’s process to create her hit memoir, “I’m Glad My Mom Died.”


You may remember her as the butter-sock, food-loving, co-host of iCarly, but now you know her as the author of The New York Times Co. bestseller “I’m Glad My Mom Died”. Becoming the 2023 Homecoming Headliner, Jennette McCurdy talks about her new memoir at the Center for the Arts (CFA). 

From the long lines outside of the CFA to the crowded theater with no seats left empty, as soon as the lights started to dim, the audience soon transformed into a live-studio audience as they cheered for McCurdy as she took her seat at center stage.

Christina Casais, a graduate student at Mason and moderator for the event, started off the night of questions by asking McCurdy, “How would you describe your sense of humor both in the book and in real life?”

“I was really serious growing up although I always loved Saturday Night Live and funny Jewish men… so there is something in me that I was just drawn to humor and so I kind of started. I don’t think I really developed a sense of humor until I was 18, I was a bit more sarcastic and then I eventually found what I feel like is my sense of humor now. Not ever being flippant of tragedy, but finding levity when necessary” said McCurdy.

This developed sense of humor added to her book as she chose to write from a child’s perspective. “Something I think is really funny is the child’s perspective…As odd as it might sound, it’s really funny. My mom might be chasing my dad around the house with a kitchen knife and I would be like ‘Go Mom! You got this!’ like cheering her on” McCurdy explained while laughing.

However, before it was a memoir, the original premise of “I’m Glad My Mom Died” was to be a one-woman show. Similar to most things in the works during 2020, it was shut down due to COVID-19.

“I was really disappointed and I felt like I didn’t know what to do with [the show]…My manager, Norm, knew I wanted to write a book and so I brought those ideas back to life into a cohesive narrative and one story to focus on,” said McCurdy.

As McCurdy brought those ideas back to life with her memoir, included with it was the relationship she had with her mom growing up and the healing process she began to experience after her mom’s death.

“Within the book, you clearly described the layered-complex relationship you have with your mom and the journey you take during healing from the relationship you had from her. Have you been able to find forgiveness? If not, when did you come to realize that it wasn’t for you?” Casais asked.

“Forgiveness is initially why I went to therapy. The first time I went to therapy, I was going to process losing my mom. As I started to share these anecdotes and stories, every single thing I would say about my mom, I would disclaim it on why she was actually doing these things from a good place.” said McCurdy.

It wasn’t until McCurdy’s first therapist made it clear to her about the abuse she was experiencing, “I quit therapy. I couldn’t handle the idea of my mom being imperfect…Until, it was a series of events and I couldn’t keep her on a pedestal. I needed to go back to therapy to find forgiveness for her.” said McCurdy.

After a year of going to therapy and trying to find it with no luck, her therapist told her she didn’t need to forgive as “[McCurdy] chasing forgiveness is you doing [her mom’s] work.” “That relief washed over me when I had that permission to live life for myself and not be chasing it to find forgiveness for a person who abused me. Owning that was healing itself,” said McCurdy.

Along with her healing process, McCurdy has found hobbies on her own terms, owning the “Disney Adult” label and enjoying things that make her feel free to have fun. As well as new career directions such as retiring from acting at 24 and becoming a director.

Ending the night with the final few questions from the moderator Casais, McCurdy shared new information with the audience to get them on their toes for the future.

“I am working on a novel now actually and a feature which I wrote and will direct…[in the future] I would really like to start a production company and develop other writer’s projects,” said McCurdy.

As people anticipate McCurdy’s upcoming projects for the coming years, until then, check out a copy of McCurdy’s memoir, “I’m Glad My Mom Died” at Fenwick Library.


Tue, 28/02/2023 - 12:38pm

Photo Courtesy of Philip Wilkerson


As I stated in this LinkedIn post, it can be daunting living up to the legacy and expectations of accomplished parents. We often focus on the First Generation of Black and brown students (rightfully so), but what about those Black and brown students who are 3rd or 4th generation college educated? Those students come from a lineage of highly educated and accomplished ancestors (#BlackExcellence personalities). I was one of those students. Since the day I was born, it was assumed I would go to college and “make” something of myself. 

I grew up privileged as my mom is a physician, and my father served 30 years in the US Army (retiring as a Colonel). My father was also a pioneer as he was one of the first Black students to attend and graduate from the Virginia Military Institute in 1972.

Photo Courtesy of Philip Wilkerson

During Black History month, I reflect on my immediate family and the #BlackExcellence in my lineage. My grandfather was a physician who served the Charlotte, NC community. I have aunts and uncles succeeding in all kinds of industries. Even in the field of education, I have exemplary models. My uncle and his wife have a building named after them at UNC Asheville for their commitment to the university as professors in English and Chemistry.   

“How do I measure up? What can my impact be?”

I had a lot of potential growing up, but I didn’t have spectacular high school or undergraduate grades. I was the quintessential underachiever, doing just enough to get by. So, what changed? It changed when I got to George Mason University back in 2009 as a graduate student. For the first time, I got a glimpse at my purpose. I did my graduate internship on campus at Mason Career Services, and it was there that I decided I wanted to be an educator and to work on a college campus. Fast forward to 2017, and I had started working at Mason full-time in the very same office I was an intern. 

Being employed at Mason helped me clarify my purpose. Not only did I want to be an educator, but I wanted to have an impact within a community! I was connected to my profession and committed to my community. 

Now, I felt responsible for the students who reminded me of myself. In 2019, two groups asked me to be their advisor, connecting me directly with Black students. Those groups were the GMU NAACP and the Iota Alpha Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated.  

I still remember students Shelby Adams and Dominique Dowling coming to my office to ask me to advise them and thinking, “they must have confused me for someone else.” Advising these Black student leaders made me a better person. If I was going to help, I had to help myself and grow. If I wanted to advise others on leadership, I had to learn leadership myself.    

Fast forward to the present day, and I have mentored countless students since 2019. My student mentees have become SGA presidents and interns at the White House, as well as alumni working for top companies/organizations like Capital One, Deloitte and the U.S. military. Now I know my purpose and contribution to my legacy. I am a leader who develops other leaders who will go out into the world and change it. I always tell my students how proud I am and how they are my legacy. I often say, “in the book of your life, I would be happy just being a sentence.”

Photo Courtesy of Philip Wilkerson

Because of my role at Mason as an impactful educator, I, too, am Black History! 


Sun, 26/02/2023 - 1:36pm

Fourth Estate/Allison Alberty

Happy Friday Patriots! 

Campus is still buzzing from the Homecoming events last week and a big men’s basketball win! There is still so much to look forward to this spring as the weather begins to warm up and spring break is just around the corner!     

This week… 

Student Alaina Ruffin received a pat from a staff member commending her for being an amazing student leader. They said, “Being your advisor has been a blessing to me and seeing how you lead other students with kindness and grace is inspiring. The future is bright for you and I can’t wait to see the amazing things you do out in the world!” 

Staff member and graduate student Philip Wilkerson received a pat for his hard work wondering “Does this man ever sleep?!?!” A fellow graduate student and staff member said, “Philip’s commitment to Mason’s Kindness Ambassador program is contagious. His positivity and ability to elevate others is exemplary. I’ve been fortunate to experience this first hand as students in the same PhD cohort as he truly puts his kindness beliefs into action, nominating others for recognition and providing opportunities for others to pay it forward.” 

Faculty member Meeghan Milette received a pat from a fellow faculty member for her great positive energy. They said, “Meeghan is always smiling, the positive vibes are enough to bring joy to someone’s day.” 

Let’s all take inspiration from Meeghan and spread positive vibes this week! The editors of The Fourth Estate would like to send a special pat to our photographer Mitchell Richtmyre for kindly taking headshots of our team this week. 

More Pats for Patriots coming soon!  


Thu, 23/02/2023 - 12:33pm

Fourth Estate/Mitchell Richtmyre

The Patriots win their third straight game against La Salle during homecoming weekend.


The Patriots (16-12) were victorious against La Salle at Homecoming this past Saturday closing with a final score of 70-66. With an attendance of 6,513 fans, the Patriots showed out and had an outstanding performance in both periods of the game.

“Basketball is a game of runs and there were a lot of ups and downs in this game,” said Coach English. “I thought our guys showed some resilience in the second half getting down six or so.”

Senior Josh Oduro led the team in scoring after tallying 25 points. Junior Ronald Polite III played 38 minutes and tallied 15 points. Polite explained how the team was able to pull through during the second half.

“Just focusing on defense,” said Polite III. “We went through a rough patch, shots weren’t falling…still had to lock men on defense, shots will fall and we know that.”

Coach English suggested that the reason their offense wasn’t what he expected was because of how well La Salle played defensively. Despite going one for four from the three-point line, Polite III’s open three in the second period was a huge factor in the Patriot’s success against La Salle.

“We’re usually better offensively in the second half,” said Coach English. “Our lone three was a huge one from Ronald but found a way to get stops and create some scores at the free throw line when our offense wasn’t fluent.”

Mason had some disappointing losses in the past this season against teams such as Saint Louis and George Washington, yet Coach English saw this as an opportunity for the improvement of the players. He is proud of how his team responded to those losses and made the necessary adjustments–defense being one of them. La Salle guards, Jhamir Brickus and Khalil Brantley were the most competitive players on the floor.

“You’re not playing defense against no one,” said Coach English. “You’re playing defense against some really good players and Brantly and Brickus are some very talented guards. We want to force guys into the contest 2 point jump shots and Brantley made some tough ones.”

This being the third straight win for the Patriots, Oduro views this as nothing more than another game to keep the team on track leading up to the A-10 tournament.

“Honestly we just looking at it as one win at a time…excited about today’s win,” said Oduro.

Coach English believes that the home game advantage also sealed the deal knowing that the support brings energy to the team as a whole. He was grateful for all the fans who came out to support the franchise.

“You really feel it,” said Coach English. “The energy in the building, for the first time I had walked in here, I’d imagine what it would look like…I really appreciate everyone that made the trip to Fairfax today to support us.”

The Patriots will visit the Dayton Flyers on Saturday, February 20 at 6 p.m. which will be televised on ESPNU.


Thu, 23/02/2023 - 12:12pm

Fourth Estate/Allison Alberty

Wednesday Addams is Growing Up


The new Netflix series “Wednesday” is coming of age story featuring a twist on the original Addams family movie. 

Following Wednesday Addams, played by Jenna Ortega who was personally approached by Tim Burton for the role, the series centers around her journey in going to Nevermore Academy.

As each episode goes by you begin to fall more in love with the little goth girl who never blinks and whose sidekick is a hand named “Thing”. They are simply the most iconic and twisted duo together.

Ortega captures the essence of Wednesday Addams so effortlessly with just the right amount of goth energy. One thing that impressed me the most was the dancing scene, the lights and music just added to the hypnotizing effect it had on the viewer.

 You could watch this scene for hours and it would never get old. The memes for this scene went viral and even started a new dance trend on TikTok

The Wednesday Addams Twitter account even tweeted about it, “I see you doing my dance moves to Lady Gaga’s Bloody Mary. I understand she is followed by little monsters. I approve”. 

In a Twitter chain response, Lady Gaga responded, “Slay Wednesday! You’re welcomed at Haus of Gaga anytime and bring Thing, (we love paws around here)”. 

From Twitter fame to trending videos, Ortega understands how to capture the audience’s heart.

In a video shared by Netflix, Ortega revealed that she choreographed the dance herself. “I choreographed that myself and I think it’s very obvious that I’m not a dancer or choreographer,” she said in the video with a laugh. 

Throughout Wednesday’s journey at Nevermore Academy, we learn important lessons on knowing one’s self and playing to our own personal strengths. As well as understanding the weakness we may have.

In Episode 2, “Woe Is the Loneliest Number”, we see internal reflection by Wednesday, “I know I’m stubborn, single-minded, and obsessive. But those are all traits of great writers–And serial killers.”   Every writer feels a bit called out by this quote, but this quote looks into all of us.

Another important lesson was on friendship and letting others in or protecting them–even if that is just from a boy.

In Episode 3, “Friend or Woe”, we see the most relatable phrase that will now be quoted by best friends all over, “If he breaks your heart, I’ll nail gun his” (E3: 9:25).  Although it is slightly terrifying it also warms our hearts because that is how Wednesday Addams shows she cares, by threatening others. 

The last lesson we see is the importance of not forgetting the past and discrimination. In Episode 3, “Friend or Woe”, Wednesday gets into a heated discussion with Principal Weems, “If trouble means standing up to lies, decades of discrimination, centuries of treating outcasts like second-class citizens or worse…”

The importance of family figures and in this case Wednesday’s father, played by Luis Guzmàn shows us that we all have figures we look up to. Mentors have helped shape us into who we are today.

In Episode 5, “You Reap What You Woe”, Wednesday shares a rare moment with her father while he is in jail. “You taught me how to be strong and independent. How to navigate myself in a world full of treachery and prejudice. You are the reason I understand how imperative it is that I never lose sight of myself. So as far as fatherhood goes, I’d say you’ve been more than adequate.”

This series hits on so many complex lessons conveyed through the lens of a “goth aesthetic” which helps show the audience that we all may have a little bit of Wednesday in us. Even if we aren’t wearing all black! Remember to stay strong, always be yourselves and never back down from a challenge, only do as Wednesday would advise!


Sun, 19/02/2023 - 5:30pm

Fourth Estate/Allison Alberty

Ask the Mind


Have you ever felt that rush of adrenaline before a game where you can feel your heartbeat beating so loud that everything else around you goes mute? Just for a moment, you find yourself in a place of excitement and fear for the game you are about to play. Playing sports on a competitive level such as college can be mentally stimulating and challenging. 

“Lifting, training, eating, whatever it takes to get better as a competitor is done and sometimes there is very little success to show for it. The life of an athlete is putting your all into something and not guaranteeing the results, but those feelings of stress get in the way of performance and must be overcome. It might not be healthy but it’s how it is often treated” stated Gabe Gibson, a sophomore club football player.

Chase Tucker, a sophomore, and athlete for Mason’s basketball team explained his thoughts on mental health and how it works in athletics. “Mental health works into being an athlete because the importance of sports in your life has an effect on how you view yourself and view the world around you and when you better understand the sport you play and why you play it and the effect that sport has on you, you can better your mental health.”

The importance of athletic performance is built from one’s foundation of mental health. The need for there to be space to talk about it is evident. 

I think mental health is a very important aspect of the sport that isn’t talked about much but your mental health definitely affects your performance on and off the court. So I think it’s an important aspect that should be talked about more” said Tucker.

As an athlete and member of an athletic team, it’s key to check in and be there for one another whether that’s before a game or after, just be there.

“We don’t currently have a system for better mental health before games, however, we are a very close team and we always check on each other. It doesn’t have to be a set time, necessarily if one of our brothers/ teammates are struggling with something I am going to ask them about it. We check in on each other to make sure we are not struggling with anything” said Tucker.

Mason has helped student-athletes by providing them with CAPS resources and mental health sessions with various foundations such as the Hillinksi’s Hope Foundation; aiming to educate and bring awareness to mental health issues student-athletes can struggle with. Most of which were centered around the fact of destigmatizing asking for help and seeking out therapy.

“I think the biggest way Mason can help athletes is by acknowledging that mental health is a thing and that is the way it affects your ability to play and even more important, your life,” said Tucker.



Fri, 17/02/2023 - 6:43pm

Fourth Estate/Mitchell Richtmyre


The Mason men’s basketball team was victorious against the Rhode Island Rams finishing with a final score of 75-67 making it their 12th victory at home. The Patriots were victorious Wednesday night against the George Washington Colonials finishing with a final score of 66-53. The Patriots now currently stand 7th in the Atlantic-10 Conference and are 15-12 overall.

Coach Kim English felt his team responded very well against the Rams who also have had much success throughout the season.

“Really good win for our group,” said Coach English. “I think we have a resilient group taking whatever has been thrown at us this season and just continue to improve and get better.”

Junior Ronald Polite III was just short of a double-double after tallying 15 points and nine assists. Senior Davonte Gaines also put up 15 points going 3-10 from the field.

“I’m always in a giving mood,” said Polite. “Ticket hit some big shots, Coop hit some big shots, Josh was rolling hard, it was just really about creating opportunities.” Polite also spoke on how playing against Rhode Island allowed him to witness the dominance of his teammate Oduro. “I feel like when he’s [Josh] in the mode to dominate, it really doesn’t matter the team,” said Polite.

After making his return from an injury, Gaines has been itching to play after sitting on the sideline watching during games. “It’s been a smooth transition, I’ve been able to watch while I was on the sideline,” said Gaines. “Just doing my job, it has been comfortable.”

Despite the multiple turnovers in the first half, the Patriots were able to make the necessary adjustments ending the first period with a score of 36-33 where the Patriots finished with a lead under 10 minutes remaining in the first half. 

“Playing inside out, getting great shots,” said Gaines. “Giving the ball to Josh, and double team making it through the right play. I think going inside first, Ronnie finding guys off the pick and roll, just making the right decisions.”

Graduate student Saquan Singleton earned more playing time this game compared to others so far this season. Coach English feels that had an impact on the performance of the team from a defensive standpoint.

“Saquan had an incredible practice,” said Coach English. “His spirit, his voice, his defense, his leadership…we had some guys who played well against UMass that didn’t deserve to play well at Loyola Chicago and they did.”

Graduate student Victor Bailey recently fractured his pinkie finger and will be sitting out for 5 weeks.

“He had surgery three days ago when we were in Pittsburgh,” said Coach English. “His family flew up…he’s gonna go through the same process Ticket just went through five weeks out.”

Mason will host their homecoming game against La Salle this Saturday at 4 p.m. at EagleBank Arena.


Fri, 17/02/2023 - 6:33pm

Photo Courtesy of Michelle Pan

Mason alum Taj Kokayi continues to shine a light on the importance of telling stories through the lens of Blackness


Mason alum Taj Kokayi recently wrote and directed the sci-fi short film, “White Mirror.” Here, Jamal Nenge, who is portrayed by actor Justin Oratokhai, prepares for an interview with Broken Echo Studios, a game design company. After witnessing the only other Black man in the office get rejected the offer, Jamal makes his way toward the bathroom where he hears the words, “maybe they’ll hire at least one of us.” Jamal then discovers a switch that is used to transform his identity into a white male which he decides could be the only path to securing his dream job.

Oratokhai has a unique way of getting into character when rehearsing. He knew as a Black man he had to do a lot of code-switching in order to play both versions of Jamal. He emphasized how he has to relive those moments.

“When I play any role that I get into, the first thing I have to think is I’m human, and then I’m an African American as well,” said Oratokhai. “You get down to the specifics, what does this person have in common with me?”

Oratokhai knew while acting, he had to put on a false persona of what he wasn’t, which is how Jamal was represented throughout the film. He explained what it was like to act as if he was operating in a foreign skin.

“It was also trying to figure out your self-worth as well,” said Oratokhai. “Trying to be as organic as possible with this character because I wanted to do justice.”

A common theme seen throughout the film is that Jamal feels as if he had to change his identity to have a chance of getting the job. The switch had the names of previous users who have tried the same method. Kokayi explained that these names were also victims of the struggle of finding a job due to the color of their skin.

“The names on the wall represent the other people who made the same choice Jamal did showing how he’s just another along the line of what I like to call, ‘white mirrors’,” said Kokayi. “I really want to show the inner struggle that Jamal is demonstrating as he’s posing as this white man.” Kokayi also explains the dichotomy of Jamal’s dilemma. He knows he’s deserving of the role because of his own qualifications and the work he has put in. Jamal believes he is going to get hired because of how he presents himself with his white skin on the outside.

One of Kokayi’s favorite themes to write about is the human heart in conflict within itself. He wanted this theme on full display throughout the film. This film was selected for the Lift Off Global Sessions Festival and will be going through the festival circuit in late 2023.


Tue, 14/02/2023 - 6:30pm

Ron Aira/Creative Services/George Mason University

New restaurants, renovations & menu updates


Mason Dining has several new options this semester as two new restaurants opened on campus. The Halal Guys, a Halal American restaurant that offers beef gyro, chicken, and falafel, and Flip Kitchen, Freshëns latest fast-casual restaurant, offering a dynamic menu ranging from noodle bowls to pasta bakes and more, opened their doors recently.

“We are excited to begin the semester with these new and improved dining options,” said Pascal Petter, Executive Director of Auxiliary Services – OBS. “We know these updates and enhancements to our program will help create a better and more inclusive dining experience for the Mason community.”

Student Government representative Zayd Hamid is ecstatic about the new options. 

“Halal Guys, in particular, was a restaurant I have been interested in having on campus for quite some time,” said Hamid. “It’s important to me that students of all dietary needs have sufficient access to food they can enjoy. This holds true for Flip Kitchen as well due to that restaurant specializing in healthy wraps, international-inspired rice bowls, etc. Both new restaurants provide a welcome increased diversity of food options within retail dining.”  

According to Mason government’s Undersecretary for Dining Services, Evanna Koury, Halal dining options have been in demand on campus for a long time.

“While the dining halls have recently begun providing consistent Halal options for students, not everyone has a meal plan. And for students that do, they deserve to explore different options just like their peers,” explained Koury. “The addition of Halal Guys is much more than opening a retail dining location; it’s a display of how deeply Mason values diversity and student feedback. I have several friends who practice Islam, and they feel excited with this step towards further inclusivity on campus.”

The new restaurants aren’t the only changes in dining on campus. Einstein Bros. renovated during winter break and reopened with a brand new look featuring a self-serve coffee station, digital menu screens, and more. 

In addition, Southside is now offering a “Mason Mensch” cart. 6–8 pm Sunday through Thursday, students will now have a menu of Kosher food options. The cart is a collaborative project between Sodexo, Mason Hillel, and Char Bar restaurant, and it is progress on the Mason dining team’s goal of creating inclusive food options. 

“After the success we had with providing Halal options at all three dining halls, the Mason Dining team and I knew that Kosher was the next step. Having dishes prepared in accordance with traditional Jewish laws is yet another positive stride towards inclusivity on campus,” explained Koury.

“We are thankful to the Mason administration for their true commitment to inclusion,” said Rabbi Ezra Wiemer, co-director of Chabad at GMU. “There’s a Jewish expression, ‘may we go from strength to strength!’ This is a huge milestone for the Jewish community, and we know that together with Mason Hillel, our community will continue to grow and strengthen.”

Hamid agrees that food options are an essential part of inclusion. 

“Every Mason student should be able to have their dietary needs accommodated both within the dining halls and in retail dining,” said Hamid. “I feel that these changes, both within the dining halls and within retail locations, serve to ultimately improve the quality of life for students with special food needs. This is about accessibility and equity. So long as we keep showing up to the conversation table, we can build upon this progress together.” 

Hamid also wanted to note that all students have a say and can be involved in dining. According to Hamid, the Student Culinary Council meets every third Friday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Ike’s Multipurpose Room and all are welcome.


Mon, 13/02/2023 - 4:19pm

Hello Patriots!

I can’t believe we’re already into the third week of the last semester of the 2022-2023 school year. It’s truly been a senior year to remember here at Mason. 

It’s a bittersweet ending to an amazing four years that I haven’t regretted one bit, even if Mason was not always my first choice. I’ve made so many connections and friends over the last four years and it all feels like it’s been leading up to this. I’ve had opportunities here I wouldn’t have had anywhere else, including a study abroad program in Paris where I found that I like Europe more than America.

As Editor-in-Chief of the Fourth Estate, we are committed to reporting and delivering content to the Mason student body on issues that matter. I can’t help but note that myself and our new News Editor, Erica Munisar, both reported on hard-hitting stories that matter to Mason. I am disappointed that after reporting on Mason PD being friendly with The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property and the Alexandria ‘Werewolf’ Killer being a Mason student, we have still not heard anything from Mason’s administration. 

How can the Mason student body expect to be safe when the administration won’t take accountability or present students with any statement?

The Fourth Estate will continue to deliver factual, non-partisan reporting without bias for the rest of this school year. We’ll be at the homecoming basketball game, where Kim English will hopefully lead the Patriots to victory. We’ll cover Jennette McCurdy’s visit to our campus, which I personally am excited about as someone who’s read her new book, “I’m Glad My Mom Died”. And, we’ll be at the debates covering who could be your new Student Body President and Vice President in addition to fun things to come.

In addition to Erica Munisar joining our staff, I’d also like to welcome Mady Godfrey as our new Culture Editor. 

Finally, we are always looking for student journalists at Mason. Without our student journalists, we would have no paper and I am appreciative of the student journalists who continue to write for us consistently. For those interested in the Fourth Estate please reach out at


Brad Byrne



Fri, 10/02/2023 - 5:39pm

Fourth Estate/Allison Alberty

Happy New Year Mason Nation! 

We hope that everyone had a restful and relaxing winter break! Classes may have stopped over winter break, but your acts of kindness certainly did not! 

Catching up on the kindness…

Staff member Sonya Henry and Graduate Student Azriele Harris received a pat for the work they did in December helping the Mason Chooses Kindness initiative. A grateful colleague “Thank you two for putting the Mason Chooses Kindness Swag bags together so I could deliver them to folks throughout the DMV. I know it was extra work and complicated the process a bit, I appreciate your patience and flexibility!”   

Faculty member Andrew Anderson received a pat for being an “amazing partner” to University Career Services. A fellow faculty member describes him as a “devoted clinician who cares about building campus partnerships in order to provide the best services to students.” They also said, “Andrew has been very responsive and informative in all of our communications. I look forward to continuing to partner with Andrew and CAPS in 2023!”

Staff member Joshua Braaten received a pat for facilitating positive student relationships from a fellow staff member. “Thank you for going the extra mile and sending a text to your students as a pick-me-up. I know they appreciate it!” 

We know the beginning of a new semester can be challenging, so the Fourth Estate is sending a special pat to all students, staff and Mason employees as we get back into the swing of things. There is much to look forward to this semester, so keep it up Patriots. Stay tuned for more acts of kindness to come!

To submit a pat, visit:


Fri, 03/02/2023 - 6:14pm

Fourth Estate/Mitchell Richtmyre



Mason men’s basketball came up short against Saint Joseph University this past Sunday with a final score of 79-76. This being their second loss at home this season, the Patriots hope to build off mistakes made moving forward.

“If we’re gonna become a team, we’re gonna have to defend, we’re gonna have to be disciplined,” said Coach Kim English. “Our discipline just has to go to the next level, it’s executing plays offensively, not making unwise fouls, it’s executing to our principles consistently.”

According to Coach English, Saint Joseph has had a better season this year as opposed to last season. The Patriots have had many issues on the defensive from the jump.

“They had a great team with a really good offense,” said Josh Oduro. “We have to be a defensive unit and that starts with me. I have to set the tone–wasn’t very great guarding the ball making sure we were executing, that’s something we have to get better at.”

Coach English believes that the lack of communication within the defense was the main reason for the loss.

“Just fight in those key moments and definitely communication–like switches, we don’t even have to practice switches because it’s so easy,” said Coach English.

Coach English knows that what he’s looking for out of his team is a process. It requires time and energy to build the team the way it should be. In addition to what he’s looking for as a unit, he mentioned how he’s noticed much growth among individual players such as Malik Henry. His dynamic with his teammate, Oduro, is playing a huge role in the development of the team’s offense.

“They’re figuring it out,” said Coach English. “Malik especially in the second half [had] little jitters to start, it’s a different win when you start the game, your conditioning hits a little differently.”

The Patriots have had two additional lineups added to the roster which has been very helpful for this team offensively and defensively. Coach English believes there is room to improve. He explained how players have to make their free throws and avoid turnovers. In his perspective, this is how you make a positive impact. 

“Individually I think guys are getting better, I thought Devin Dinkins gave us really good minutes tonight, Malik was great, Justyn Fernandez is getting better,” said Coach English. “It doesn’t stop.”


The Patriots were victorious at home against the Minutemen with a final score of 70-59. Freshman Justyn Fernandez tallied a career-high of 18 points (5-8 FG). After earning more minutes on the floor, Fernandez took full advantage of this opportunity.

“Just staying consistent, being the first one in the gym, last one out of the gym,” said Fernandez. “Playing more defense, locking into what the Coach is saying, and believing in that.”

Coach English has recognized much growth in his players since the beginning of the season. He looks to continue to put more freshmen on the floor to produce good results.

“We’ve just been focusing on how hard we play and how disciplined we play,” said Coach English. “There’s always room to grow in those areas but we had some really good moments tonight.”

The Patriots will head to Loyola University this Saturday, Feb. 4 where they will face the Ramblers at the Joseph J. Gentile Arena at 2:30 p.m.


Dr. Michael Nickens, also known as Doc Nix, was honored at the George Mason Men’s Basketball Black African Heritage Month Game for his achievements with the Green Machine. A fantastic way to kick off the first week of Black History Month.


Mon, 19/12/2022 - 5:17pm

Photo courtesy of Purple Sun Productions

A look into the works of Mason’s film called the “Topaz Bracelet”  


With her growing career in the film industry, 2021 GMU’s Black Artist of the Year, Sally Deen alongside producer Taj Kokayi demonstrate representation in cinema. 

Purple Sun Productions recently released the film, “Topaz Bracelet.” This film depicts a young woman named Choyce portrayed by Olivia Dantzler mourning the loss of her grandmother and is on the path of retracing her steps. Choyce’s grandmother, who she addressed as Nana, gave her a bracelet with a topaz.

However, after awakening from a hangover, she realized the precious gift from her grandmother was lost. She informs her friend Kim about the dilemma so they search for the topaz bracelet places where they believed it would be. Feeling hopeless, Choyce makes her way to the bench at the pond she sat at with her Nana where she realizes she had the gift with her the entire time.

“I wanted to add in the element of familial love and along with that, self-forgiveness because I know my familial relationships are the most important in my life,” Deen said. “I wanted the audience to take away that a person’s legacy is more than just the things they left behind, it’s also about the memories you shared with them.”

Dantzler’s inspiration was from her relationship with her grandmother. “Just that moment that you have with your elders–a lot of the similarities between me and Choyce would definitely come from our relationship with our grandmoms.” Cherishing the relationship with your elders is what resonated the most with Dantzler.

Dantzler emphasized that this story was necessary to tell because of the importance of having a relationship with your elders. She hopes the greatest takeaway the audience will have is to be willing to make time for their elders.

“It goes to say that life isn’t guaranteed the next day, and you never know and that’s the hard truth,” Dantzler said. “So just be thankful for every moment that you had with everyone.”

One of the most common themes of this film was how Choyce had flashbacks of her with her Nana ever since she woke up from the hangover. 

Gina Brown and Asia Cooper mention how it’s about the bonds you form with your elders that matter the most. Brown explained how this was the element of the film she favored the most.

“When I was sitting on the bench and I hugged Choyce–it was reminiscent of just a time in my life,” Brown said.

Asia also emphasized the importance of being home and how it brings your peace and that the bond you create with your family protects you. 

“I do believe that making those memories and keeping them with you really tells you to bond with your family, especially during this COVID time,” Asia said. “It’s crazy, anything can happen, and being home is always a place to come back to.”

With this being her senior year at Mason, Deen will set the example of the importance of representation in the film industry moving forward.


Mon, 19/12/2022 - 4:08pm

Photo Courtesy of Gage Skidmore


Saying “here we are again” no longer makes sense. This is no longer a cycle of mass shootings. Instead, we live in a constant state where not a day will go by without a community being affected by gun violence. 

28 shootings have resulted in four or more deaths this year out of over 600 that can be considered a mass shooting. Recent killings at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville and a Walmart in Chesapeake have left nine dead and others injured. To say our nation and specifically our commonwealth is in mourning would be an understatement. 

It has become typical for leaders who do not support gun reform measures to avoid offering little more than condolences and their thoughts and prayers. A pivot is usually made by the same leaders to put the blame on the mental health crisis our country is experiencing. Governor Younkin’s statements on the shooting in Chesapeake were no deviation from this norm.

He gave condolences and noted this as a time to “reflect on the state of mind in America and Virginia”, as he shifted to discussing our mental health crisis. It is worth noting the Governor is unlikely to back any new gun measures in Virginia and avoided using language related to guns when discussing the shootings. 

Leaders who do not want to implement new gun measures are using mental health to deflect attention from the fact that our country will continue to experience these tragedies if we do not strengthen gun regulations. 

Shootings have become a uniquely American problem, and many of those with power, including our Governor, will do whatever they can to deflect attention away from gun violence and keep reform from being implemented. Youngkin and others who cite mental health as the root issue fail to think critically about what that means, or instead hope the constituents they represent will fail to assess their statements. 

Yes, we have a mental health crisis that cannot be denied. But referring to this after instances of gun violence is an anti-solution. It is nothing more than stating the obvious and quietly admitting that they do not offer any solutions that could prevent further gun violence. Everyone should feel insulted when we are given a mental health lecture after a tragic shooting. 

Do those against gun reform take a step back and think about what contributes to poor mental health? Perhaps it deals with the very issue you fail to act on. Maybe, just maybe, hundreds of children dying in their classrooms have inflicted fear in our youngest. Do you think it is possible that Sandy Hook, Parkland, Uvalde and other horrific shootings have left an entire generation desensitized, depressed, and scarred? 

One of the worst contributions to poor mental health in our country, especially among our youngest, is surely the repeated witnessing of horrific killings in our streets, grocery stores, places of worship, entertainment centers, and especially our schools. If you combine the destruction that has been seen with decades of deflecting and inaction, then it is no surprise that these tragedies have become constant.

To our leaders who refuse to back gun reform and point the finger at mental health: your words are heard by younger generations that are much more aware of mental health than your own. What youth hear is that you do not want to put forth a solution. You do not want to end the suffering. And most importantly, you are willing to fight against common sense gun reform and keep our communities in danger, which inevitably worsens the mental health of many. 

It is hard to be more tone deaf than that.